Sunday 19 May 2019

$2bn for couple in case over weed-killer cancer link

A jury in California ordered Bayer-owned Monsanto to pay more than $2 billion damages to a couple that sued on grounds the weed killer Roundup caused their cancer. Photo: JOSH EDELSON/AFP/Getty Images
A jury in California ordered Bayer-owned Monsanto to pay more than $2 billion damages to a couple that sued on grounds the weed killer Roundup caused their cancer. Photo: JOSH EDELSON/AFP/Getty Images

Tina Bellon

A California jury on Monday awarded more than $2bn to a couple who claimed Bayer AG's glyphosate-based Roundup weed killer caused their cancer, in the largest US jury verdict to date against the company in litigation over the chemical.

It was the third consecutive US jury verdict against the company in litigation over the chemical, which Bayer acquired as part of its $63bn purchase of Monsanto last year. Both other jury verdicts also came in California, one in state court and one in federal court.

The jury in San Francisco Superior Court in Oakland yesterday said the company was liable for plaintiffs Alva and Alberta Pilliod's contracting non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, a spokeswoman for the couple said.

It awarded $18m in compensatory and $1bn in punitive damages to Alva Pilliod, and $37m in compensatory and $1bn in punitive damages to his wife, Alberta Pilliod.

The jury found Roundup had been defectively designed, that the company failed to warn of the herbicide's cancer risk and that the company acted negligently.

The German chemicals giant faces more than 13,400 U.S. lawsuits over the herbicide's alleged cancer risk.

Bayer in a statement said it was disappointed with the verdict and will appeal, adding that both Alva and Alberta Pilliod had long histories of illnesses known to be substantial risk factors for non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.

Bayer says that decades of studies by the company and independent scientists have shown glyphosate and Roundup to be safe for human use.

Bayer also points to several regulators around the world that found that glyphosate was not carcinogenic.

Irish Independent

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